Local sneaker store Sneaker P has emerged as one of Richmond’s top sneaker consignment stores, with its Richmond location opening in June of last year. Located at 3913 Hull Street, the store is one of two Virginia locations owned by Kevin Choe.
In March of 2014, the veteran retailer decided to get into the sneaker business and teamed up with Marcus Kelley, who now serves as the store’s Marketing Director and Manager to help run the business.
Kelley, who graduated from VCU in 2013, studied Finance and Marketing during his time at Monroe Park. New York born and bred, Kelley had always been sneakerhead. With his love for shoes for over 15 years, he began to turn his greatest pastime into something much bigger.
“I owe my time at VCU to being able to do this job. The relationships with people I’ve built. When I was taking my classes, that’s when I really started exploring buying and selling shoes. That’s when I developed my skills in the marketplace of shoes. That’s when I learned what profit margin was. I started piecing things together based on the material I was learning and the people I was meeting. VCU is where my habit turned into a business.”
Having been in the Richmond area for quite some time now, Kelley believes the city has found the pulse of the sneaker community. With other local stores like Round Two, Monument and HTLR, Sneaker P has found themselves in the midst of a sneaker culture in Richmond that has begun to rapidly increase.
“It’s been growing. As Nike and Adidas have continued to grow, you can see how they’ve influenced communities that didn’t really have sneaker subcultures to have one themselves. The way I look it, it’s impressive what Nike and other companies have been able to do. Richmond is just now starting to become a sneaker community.”
In recent years, store like Sneaker P have found tremendous success in the buy, sell or trade market. With that said, sneaker fans and followers across the country have argued whether or not the resell culture is good for the sneaker business in the first place. When it comes to the issue, Kelley believes the issues of reselling have calmed down tremendously as compared to previous years.
“I fall in the middle. Nike and Adidas have made large efforts to stop that. The reselling culture was at its all time high 5-6 years ago but now they’re putting so much product out that there’s lower margins…So now because of low profit, there’s no point to resell.”
“All in all, it doesn’t affect our store. It’s all based on the market price so it just changes the final price point for our shoes.”
With it’s Colonial Heights location have been around for two years, Kelley believes their Richmond location, a mere 8 months old, has made a huge splash in the area, creating their own lane for themselves. While famed stores like Round Two are largely successful in their own right, Kelley and the people at Sneaker P don’t view them as competition.
“We don’t necessarily view them as competition because we do different things. We see ourselves as in our own stratosphere. We clean and sanitize so we offer a different package for our preowned shoes that’s different from what other people do.”
“If you looking for a pre-owned shoe that’s clean, sanitized, safe to wear and cheaper than the market price, we’re the only ones that offer that. Therefore we have our own niche market for that.”
Finding themselves in their own lane, Kelley believes their cleaning system sets them apart from all of the other sneaker stores in the area. With an extensive cleaning process, taking anywhere from 24-48 hours, the shoes come out nearly good as new for customers. Coupled with it’s strong marketing strategy, Kelley believes big things are ahead for the store in 2017.
Having done television interviews such as FOX and commercials, in-store celebrity appearances and sneaker vending machines in various malls last year, the team looks to continue to build the brand.
“We’re actually coming out with bags, hang tags included with shoes, marketing efforts local promoters, opening up a new store in Maryland soon. So with that said, we’re definitely doing a lot of things to expand and get out there so the whole conglomerate of stores can truly get that nationwide appeal.”
In addition to spreading the word about the store, Kelley emphasizes the true goal of Sneaker P for it’s customers old and new.
“Just giving people an outlet to sell and buy shoes. We always try to give customers a chance to get the shoes they want in decent condition under the market price. Of course we’re a business, but that’s the main thing we want to get out to the community. We want parents and kids to get the shoes they want at cheaper prices and allow them to get throughout time instead of a one time shot.”
Muktaru is a graduate student working on a Master’s of Teaching after earning an undergraduate degree in English and Political Science. In addition to writing for the CT, he also co-founds his own music and arts site, STROKES N RHYMES. Topic areas Muktaru enjoys covering include music, sports and pop culture.
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